Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors / Tini zabutykh predkiv / Wild Horses of Fire




Ukrainian SSR


Oleksandr Dovzhenko Film Studio


98 min


Sergei Parajanov


Ivan Chendei, Sergei Parajanov


Yurii Illienko


Ivan Mykolaichuk, Larysa Kadochnykova, Oleksandr Raidanov, Neonila Hnepovska, Oleksandr Hai

Two Hutsul families have been feuding for many years.  Against this backdrop of animosity and a lust for revenge, a pure and bright love is born between Ivan and Marichka, members of the feuding families. When Ivan is away trying to earn some money, Marichka tragically drowns in the deep waters of a mountain river. Ivan tries to forget his beloved, but he is unable to — and his marriage to the beautiful Palahna is not helping. Ivan finds happiness only in his near-death delirium.

Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors was released at a crossroads of two Soviet eras, a time when the Moscow authorities were becoming more reactionary, yet the period of the ‘Thaw’ was still present in Ukrainian cinema. This movie became a turning point in the development of Ukrainian culture in the second half of the 20th century. From the scandalously dissident premiere of the film in the movie theater Ukraina to the extended opposition to Soviet censorship by the directors of the ‘poetic’ cinematic movement, Parajanov’s film has become an icon of style for the young cinema of independent Ukraine.

Parajanov’s Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors is an exceptionally interesting work even outside of a political context, thanks to its innovative cinematic language and an impressive cast that includes the major figures of the Ukrainian film industry of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.

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